How To Get Rid Of Fruit Flies

Have you noticed tiny flies buzzing around your home? The dreaded fruit flies have arrived, and they won’t go away, despite your efforts to keep things tidy. These tiny nuisances breed quickly, which is why you might notice a single fruit fly one day and then a swarm only a day or two later. Let’s make one thing clear: Fruit flies are not a cleanliness issue. They can invade your home no matter how clean and sanitary it is. The culprit isn’t dirt and grime—it’s fermenting fruits and vegetables and moisture that lure these pests into your home.

Fruit flies can get out of control quickly because a female lays eggs on or in ripe and rotting fruit. After they hatch, larvae can evolve into adults in a matter of days and continue the breeding cycle. And since the females can lay up to 500 eggs at a time, you better learn how to get rid of fruit flies fast and right away.

Fruit flies are active all year, but they’re more common at the end of the summer and into the fall when fruits and vegetables are especially ripe or fermented. The pests can come in on the produce you buy at the farmer’s market or from the pumpkin patch down the road. Besides the annoyance of tiny bugs flying around the kitchen, fruit flies can potentially spread harmful bacteria from unsanitary areas like garbage cans.

However they arrived, never fear: Learning how to get rid of fruit flies is simple and easy. But first, let’s make sure we know what we’re dealing with.

What’s the Difference Between Fruit Flies and Gnats?

When you see little black bugs flying around, your first step is to find out what kind of pest you have. Fruit flies and gnats look similar, but controlling them requires different approaches. Gnats are typically gray or black, while fruit flies are light tan or reddish-brown. Fruit flies primarily infest areas where there’s fruit, vegetables, or garbage, while gnats infest the soil of houseplants. If you determine your pests are gnats, we’ve got you covered with our tips for getting rid of gnats. Now let’s get rid of some fruit flies.

How to Kill Fruit Flies With Traps, Sprays, and Plants

So how do you get rid of fruit flies? It’s easy to learn with homemade traps using household ingredients. You can use ripened fruit, beer, or apple cider vinegar to lure, trap, and kill them. Place a few DIY fruit fly traps below around the house near sinks, food cabinets, and trash cans. If the fruit fly infestation is severe, consider commercial products like sprays and traps or go all-natural and let a carnivorous plant handle the pest control.

Here are five home remedies that explain how to get rid of fruit flies:

Apple Cider Vinegar

Fill a bowl with apple cider vinegar (you can also use white vinegar in a pinch), use a rubber band and plastic wrap to make a cover, then poke holes in the top. The vinegar will attract the pests and trap them inside.

Vinegar and Dish Soap

Mix vinegar and a drop of dish soap in a bowl. The vinegar attracts the pests, and the dish soap reduces the liquid surface tension enough that the bugs drown.

Vinegar and Ripe Fruit

Put a piece of ripe fruit in a jar ¼ full of apple cider vinegar. Roll some paper into a cone and insert the smaller end into the jar. The ripe fruit and vinegar attract the flies, and the cone makes it difficult for them to get out.

Carnivorous Plants

A guide for how to get rid of fruit flies wouldn’t be complete without mentioning their natural enemies—carnivorous house plants. Carnivorous plants like Sundew or Pitcher plants are a natural solution that provides immediate and long-term fruit fly control.

Commercial Products

From sticky flypaper to plastic traps, there are plenty of effective and safe commercial products to help get rid of fruit flies. You can also find eco-friendly sprays for non-food surfaces like mop heads, under sinks, around drain covers, garbage cans, and other areas.

How to Prevent Fruit Fly Infestations

Knowing how to get rid of fruit flies is a vital housekeeping skill. But the best guard against these annoying pests is to keep your kitchen clean.

Follow these seven helpful tips to keep fruit flies out of your kitchen:

Rinse Your Produce

When you bring home fresh produce from the grocery store or market, wash it off before putting it away. The quick cleaning removes residue that could attract fruit flies—and it minimizes germs. Two parts water and one part distilled white vinegar cleans produce and kills some bacteria that could prolong ripening. Wash your produce with a cloth and your vinegar solution and rinse thoroughly to eliminate the offensive odor. Be sure to throw out overripe or rotting produce, too.

Take Out the Trash Regularly

Taking the trash out every day not only helps prevent fruit flies but also keeps your home looking clean and smelling fresh. Use fresh trash bags each time and if one has leaked, rinse out the trash can and dry it before replacing the bag.

Empty and Clean Your Recycling Bin Often

Your recycling bin can contain everything from empty soda bottles to discarded milk jugs—the perfect attractants for fruit flies. Empty your recycling bin often, and rinse and dry it before replacing the liner or bag.

Sweep and Mop Daily

All those little crumbs from sandwiches, bagels, and pastries may be hard for you to see, but fruit flies will pick up the scent right away. Sweep and mop daily and pay extra attention to hard-to-reach places, like the space between your refrigerator and counters.

Store Produce Correctly

Put ripening produce in the refrigerator or in paper bags on the counter. The cold slows down the ripening, and the paper bags keep the fruit flies from reaching your fruits and veggies.

Don’t Leave Dirty Dishes in the Sink

All that gunk on dirty dishes is just too much to resist for fruit flies looking for a snack or a spot to lay their eggs. Washing dirty dishes right away reduces breeding grounds and minimizes food sources. It’s also a good idea not to leave dirty dishes in the dishwasher too long, either. Even with the door closed, all kinds of pests can find their way in, including fruit flies.

Keep Sink Drains Clean

Cleaning the drain in your kitchen sink with vinegar can help reduce the aromas of food debris in the drain. If you have a garbage disposal, clean the baffle and the top of the disposal, then pour in the vinegar and baking soda. Turn on the disposal and run hot water for 30 seconds to flush all the food particles.

Use these tips to get rid of fruit flies and prevent future infestations. And when you need help getting your kitchen or any other room fresh and clean, The Maids provides affordable and flexible residential cleaning for all your housekeeping needs. Find out more when you get a free online estimate for your home.


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